I have always been a reader, but in the past month I have been devouring books with lightning speed. Every night I have been retiring to bed early, curling up under our duvet with a mass of pillows propped under my head and basically inhaling some book or other until I can no longer keep my eyes open. And if the book is really good, I refuse to stop reading and usually Charlie finds me sitting up comatose, book open, glasses on and head lolled to one side with my mouth gaped open. He's one lucky guy.
That is basically how he found me each night I spent reading Lessons from Madame Chic by Jennifer L. Scott. Erin Gates mentioned the book on her blog and I was completely intrigued. I had to get it. And you should too.
Jennifer Scott spent a year living as a foreign exchange student in Paris with the "Chic" family ~ a family of aristocratic stock and masters in the fine art of living. Madame Chic's lessons cover everything from dining to dressing and Jennifer relates her observations and experiences in such an affable way that you won't be able to put this book down either.
The part that struck the biggest chord with me was Chapter 4 ~ Liberate yourself with the 10 item wardrobe. 10 items??? I own like 10 hundred articles of clothing!!!!
I have worked in the apparel retail industry since I was 15. Clothing is my livelihood and my closets runneth over. While I have scaled back my shopping habits immensely in the past few years, I own enough clothing to fully dress a small third world country. It's ridiculous.
They say we wear 20% of our wardrobe 80% of the time and I cannot deny that being true. But how do you scale back when you lean towards the "classic" and have spent years building what you consider to be a "timeless" wardrobe?
Well, here's how that "timeless" wardrobe was working out for me:
This is closet 1 of 2.
And shall I mention that this is my Fall/Winter wardrobe?
There are 8 Rubbermaid totes in the attic with the summer stuff.
It is so tight to squeeze anything in, that this past winter I just started hooking things to the bar over top of everything else.
My folded piles are so high that they tip mercilessly to the side.
My closets are, frankly, a hot mess.
And the craziest part?
The retailer I currently work for has such a restrictive dress code that I wear even less than 20% of my stuff 5 days a week! Pathetic.
I had already purged a large amount in early fall but clearly need an intervention of some sort or other.
So I took Jennifer's tip about being brutal with cleaning out closet clutter and I have spent the past week sorting through each day after work, filling trash bag after trash bag of clothing, shoes and accessories.
I'm not sure that I could ever get to a 10 item wardrobe, I'm not even at 25 items yet, but I am down to one closet from two and poor Charlie lugged 11 trash bags out to the garage this week. I unpacked the 8 totes of summer and only 4 of winter went back to the attic. I can now slide hangers back and forth in the closet and all my shoes fit perfectly. There will be more purging I'm sure at the end of the summer, but for now I'm pretty pleased with what I've done.
Here's what I learned:
1. I owned over 30 pairs of jeans and wear the same 4 pairs again and again. Can we say Denim Hoarder??? I kept 12 for now, but will probably revisit this pile and purge again.
2. I own so much vintage and I wear so little of it. I kept the "to die" for pieces that I will never come across again in my lifetime (like my white sequin jacket ~ amazing with a stripe tee, jeans and heels!) and have contacted a vintage dealer to buy the rest of it.
3. I have had some items for over a decade! Just because it still fits and may be a "classic" doesn't mean I need to keep it. That's where the brutal part came in.
4. Items I can't wear to work because of dress code I had to seriously ask myself "Will I wear this on my day off?" Many bags were filled because there are other things I would love to wear on those two precious days.
5. I'm turning 40 this year. My son starts college in September. Time for those pairs of 6" heels to go. I'll live on "the edge" with no higher than 4" and age gracefully with some sensible shoes. I'm just not ready for Aerosoles yet.
What about you?
Do your closets runneth over or are you disciplined and in control?